Kayleigh Flynn '11, a Child Development major with N-3 Teaching Certification from Otisfield, Maine, discusses her Capstone, which involved research on balance with second-grade students.

my capstone experience

Kayleigh Flynn '11, a Child Development major with N-3 Teaching Certification from Otisfield, Maine, discusses her Capstone, which involved research on balance with second-grade students. While at Colby-Sawyer, Flynn was president of the Child Development Club and a member of the Community Service Club, the CSC Players, the Cross-Cultural Club and the Wesson Honors Advisory Group.

Describe the subject of your Capstone project and why you chose to focus on this subject.

My Capstone project consisted of implementing an investigation of balance with my second grade students in a public elementary school. To successfully complete this, I had to provide an activity relating to balance for each discipline and tailor it to both the interests and developmental needs of my students.

What did you learn through your Capstone project, and in what ways is it a culmination of your learning experience at Colby-Sawyer?

Through the progression of my Capstone project, I learned how to integrate a constructivist curriculum into a public school classroom setting, which I originally thought would be next to impossible. My Capstone was a culmination of my learning experience because I applied all my knowledge of how children grow and develop and meshed it with the knowledge I gained about constructivism in Windy Hill, putting everything into play in the classroom where I interned.

What was most fun and rewarding for you in the process of creating your Capstone?

The most rewarding part was seeing how the children were able to make connections to our investigation of balance on my own. I loved sitting back and listening to the children have an entire discussion about balance without any guidance from me, instead building off what their peers were saying.

What did you find most challenging and difficult about the project?

At first I was concerned that I would not be able to put a curriculum into place in a public school setting that is very much theme-based instead of the usual traditional style of teaching, but I found ways to demonstrate my curriculum nonetheless.

What do you hope will be the lasting value of your Capstone project, both for you and others?

In order to meet the Honors component of my Capstone, I designed and carried out one final activity with my class that took about a week to complete. After reading a story to my class about how to deal with emotions, my children held a discussion about mental balance. They wrote about what they do to cope with their emotions, and later illustrated those thoughts. I compiled their work into a book and donated it to the Windy Hill School. I hope that future Child Development seniors will read the book and realize that the activities they carry out in their classrooms can have profound and lasting effects for their students. I also hope that the children who attend the Windy Hill School will look through the book and think of their own strategies for coping with difficult feelings.

How would you summarize your Colby-Sawyer experience?

My Colby-Sawyer experience has been more rewarding than I could have dreamed. When I arrived, I thought I would be just another student who graduates unnoticed in four years. But I joined clubs, acted in plays, and worked as an RA and a work-study student. Each of these activities brought me closer to the rest of the student population, and I soon found myself deeply connected to almost every aspect of the school. I could not have asked for a better college experience, and truly think that Colby-Sawyer was the best college for me.